How to Get More Value Out of a Trade Show

Trade shows can be excellent platforms for generating brand awareness, collecting leads, and setting your business up for sales. But in order to get the most out of your trade show experience, you must have a plan.

The Benefits of Trade Shows for Businesses

From the outside looking in, trade shows can easily seem like a relic of a previous business world – a pre-pandemic type of event where people mingled and networked in close quarters.

But don’t be so quick to write trade shows off in 2022 and beyond. As the world enters back into some form of normalcy, trade shows are rebounding and showing entrepreneurs and business owners why they’re so valuable.

Never underestimate the value of attending a trade show and making eye contact with people in your industry. It’s a huge opportunity with the potential for oversized results. Benefits include:

  • Face-to-face

    In this sort of marketplace, where virtual is the new normal, how many opportunities do you get to meet face-to-face with prospects, clients, business partners, and even competitors? No phone, Zoom, or emails – just direct eye contact, handshakes, and a whole lot of rapport-building.

  • Instant feedback

    A trade show gives you an opportunity to put your product or service in front of people and gather feedback in real-time. You can tell how people feel by watching their body language, reading their facial expressions, and listening to their words.

  • Motivated audience

    Nobody just strolls into a trade show to do some window shopping. People at trade shows are motivated. These people have specific needs, problems, or pain points. You’re in a perfect place to position your product as the solution.

  • Brand awareness

    Show up to enough trade shows and industry events, and you start to build a name for yourself in the industry. Just having your booth on display with custom graphics and logos puts you on the radar and gives your brand awareness and legitimacy in the market.

  • Direct sales

    Finally, there’s the possibility for direct sales. While this doesn’t always happen at trade shows (and it depends on the product or service), there’s the potential for generating revenue at the show itself. In some cases, it’s enough to totally pay for the trade show and turn a profit.

These are just several of the big benefits of trade shows for businesses. The reality is that a single trade show can change a brand’s entire trajectory…when done right.

3 Ways to Maximize Trade Show Results

It’s not enough to just show up at a trade show and plop down in your booth. To enjoy the benefits mentioned above, you need a plan. It’s easy to overthink things, but here are three very simple tips for success:

  • Design a Compelling Booth

The first step is to design the kind of booth that draws people in. There should almost be a magnetic aura around your both – a strong and compelling feeling that makes people choose your booth over the dozens of others.

To design a compelling booth, you have to start by thinking about visuals. Ask yourself how you can visually compel someone to step into your booth. Good graphics, bright colors, and lots of buzz is the key here.

In order to create that buzz that makes people stop by, try focusing on interactive elements. People love interactive displays, touchscreen elements, and physical giveaways and freebies. And these things have a compounding effect. The more people show up to your booth, the more other people become curious and congregate just to see what’s happening.

  • Come Prepared With Marketing Collateral

Getting someone into the booth is just the first step. The next key is to make an impression on them. This is why it’s important to come prepared with various forms of marketing collateral.

One example – which should be a requirement – is a custom printed brochure designed specifically for the trade show. This brochure should explain exactly who you are, what value your products provide, and what to do next. There should be some sort of incentive-laced CTA to get people to reach out to your business after the trade show.

  • Bring the Right People

Finally, make sure you have the right people manning your booth. This is not the place for reserved, introverted, or analytical employees (no matter how long they’ve been with the company or how tremendous they are as people). You want your most extroverted and relational people on this job. These should be people who thrive off the engagement and have plenty of knowledge about your brand and the industry.

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Trade shows present a massive opportunity for both young brands and established companies alike. But in order to get the results you’re seeking, you must approach these events with a certain level of strategic intentionality.

In other words, you need a plan – and it needs to be the right plan. Let this article serve as a launching pad for your growth in this area!